Tourism Numbers Inches Away From Pre-COVID Figures
A total of 818,268 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in April 2022, representing a 96.3% recovery from April 2019 and the highest recovery rate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawai‘i.
Visitors spent $1.6 billion in the islands in April, an increase of 21% compared to the $1.32 billion reported for April 2019.
The statistics, issued Thursday, May 26, are according to preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, or DBEDT.
“The month of April brought the highest recovery rate of visitor spending and arrivals since February 2020,” said DBEDT Director Mike McCartney: “It was also the 12th consecutive month in which visitor arrivals from the continental U.S. surpassed the same month’s level in 2019. Daily spending by U.S. visitors increased by 24.5 percent, which supported our communities, businesses and state tax revenues.”
Of the total visitors, 809,612 arrived by air service, mainly from the U.S. West and U.S. East. Additionally, 8,656 visitors arrived by cruise ships. In comparison, 849,397 visitors (-3.7%) arrived by air and by cruise ships in April 2019. The average length of stay by all visitors in April 2022 was 8.68 days, up from 8.25 days (+5.2%) in April 2019.
The statewide average daily census1 was 236,835 visitors in April 2022 compared to 233,616 visitors (+1.4%) in April 2019.
What could eventually close the gap between pre-pandemic figures and now is the recent return of international tourism. The return of the huge economic driver for the islands is expected to be positive, although COVID case counts locally are on the climb again.
There were 6,749 visitors from Japan in April 2022 compared to 119,487 visitors (-94.4%) in April 2019. Visitors from Japan spent $15.3 million in April 2022 compared to $164 million (-90.7%) in April 2019. Daily spending by Japanese visitors in April 2022 ($231 per person) decreased compared to April 2019 ($234 per person, -1.3%).
“In the next few months, we anticipate and are planning for the return of Japanese visitors,” McCartney said. “The increase of tour groups from Japan will allow us to continue our pivot towards educating all visitors about Hawai‘i’s culture and manage our state’s resources so they can continue to remain healthy.”
On the Big Island, 140,302 visitors landed on Hawai‘i Island in April 2022 compared to 130,224 visitors (+7.7%) in April 2019. Visitor spending was $199.3 million compared to $149.1 million (+33.7%) in April 2019. The average daily census on Hawai‘i Island was 37,356 visitors in April 2022 compared to 30,444 visitors (+22.7%) in April 2019.
Through the first four months of 2022, there were 515,333 visitors to Hawai‘i Island, compared to 577,101 visitors (-10.7%) in the first four months of 2019. For the first four months of 2022, total visitor spending was $851.3 million compared to $795.5 million (+7%) in the first four months of 2019.
“Continuing to remain vigilant by protecting ourselves and our communities from COVID as the case counts continue to rise is paramount,” McCartney said. “If we work towards a regenerative (next level of sustainability) stewardship (having the privilege of taking care of Hawai‘i) model, together we can achieve healthy and vibrant communities, businesses and industries that support an enviable living in Hawai‘i.”
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